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Archbishop praises work of credit unions as ‘a great example’ of Catholic social teaching

By Amanda Connelly

ARCHBISHOP Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh has expressed his gratitude for the credit union movement as West Lothian Credit Union reaches its milestone of £10 million worth of loan distributions since the group was formed.

In a letter to the Livingston-based group, Archbishop Cushley held up the credit union movement as an example of Catholic social teaching, calling it a ‘great example of these principles in action.’

“As you know, the principle of subsidiarity is central to the Catholic Church’s social teaching,” Archbishop Cushley wrote.

“It proposes that neither central government nor any larger institution should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies within civil society. In short, small is often beautiful.

“It is through subsidiarity that solidarity with the most vulnerable is often best practised and the common good best upheld.”

The West Lothian Credit Union was formed in St Peter’s parish under the late Fr Gerry Prior, from the parish’s Justice and Peace group, and has grown over the years to include almost 3,000 adult members as well as 1,500 under-16 members. The organisation’s Catholic origins were noted at a celebration held on September 23 marking the £10 million loan milestone.

Among those present were the parish priest of Livingston parishes, Fr Kenneth Owens, and the parish priest of Winchburgh and Broxburn, Fr Jeremy Bath. Members of Fr Prior’s family, including his mother Agnes, also came along to join in the celebration.

“After 18 years—and £10 million worth of loans—let us therefore give prayerful thanks for the life and work of all those who have given so much to the West Lothian Credit Union,” Archbishop Cushley wrote in his letter.

The Church believes social and economic policies should help us to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable, and to provide the most local, lowest level of care available.

Credit unions have long been noted as examples of Catholic social teaching.

The West Lothian Credit Union is one of 113 across the country. They work as financial co-operatives to help members and communities.



—This story ran in full in the October 7 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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